Getting divorced or separating? Reasons why you need a Will

Getting divorced or separating? Reasons why you need a Will
  1. Guardianship of children under 18

If you have children under 18, you will need to think about who will look after the children should the people with “Parental Responsibility” die. Parental Responsibility (known as “PR”) is a legal concept which your family lawyer can advise on, but as a guardianship appointment will only take place where all people with PR have died, it is important to know if both parents have PR and, if possible, to come to an agreement about guardianship for your children. A guardianship appointment must be written and witnessed, so it is best contained in a Will.

  1. Intestacy rules

The Intestacy rules are rules the government has laid out to establish who inherits if you die without a Will. For married couples, or those in civil partnerships, the rule is as follows:

  • If you have children: the first £270,000 passes to the legal spouse (whether you are actually in a relationship with each other), along with personal chattels. Anything above this is halved between the children (to be inherited by them at 18), and the spouse.

  • If there are no children: all passes to the legal spouse (whether or not they are in a relationship).


There are three points to address here that require a Will, and advice from a specialist Wills lawyer, and they are:

  • Your spouse, who you are paying a solicitor (usually to mitigate your losses in a divorce), will inherit a large amount of money if you die before your decree absolute is issued;

  • You may feel children inheriting at 18 is too young; and

  • You may need to alter how you own your assets to stop automatic transfer of the assets by survivorship


  1. Inheritance Tax implications

By getting a divorce, you will no longer benefit from the spousal exemption for tax purposes, and you may need to seek advice about this.


  1. Pension Rules

Just like intestacy, pensions often pay to legal spouses. This is regardless of whether you are in a relationship with the person or not on your death. Looking at your Will is often a trigger for sorting out your wishes with the provider.


If you are getting a divorce or separating from your partner or spouse, there is a lot to consider. Contact Us to find out how a relationship split can affect your interests and why making a Will can help.


View all

FREE employment law Walk-Ins. 

Lawson-West provides FREE Walk-In sessions each week where you can speak to an experienced employment specialist about your employer troubles - absolutely free of charge. We’re here to help. Read more here...

Walk Ins

Close this message